Talk:Amiens Cathedral

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Untitled[edit]

"The Cathedral of Our Lady of Amiens (French: Cathédrale Notre-Dame d'Amiens), or just Amiens Cathedral, is the tallest complete cathedral in France with the greatest interior volume..." Is there an incomplete cathedral that is taller? that would be interesting. Maybe somebody should write about it. Either that, or not suggest that such exists. Xientist 23:39, 6 May 2006 (UTC)

Cathédrale Saint-Pierre de Beauvais is taller than Amiens' cathedral but could not be completed at the time, mainly because the spire collapsed in 1573 (according to the French article about Beauvais Cathedral). The lack of funds has led to nowadays' building. --LeftEye 14:34, 14 May 2006 (UTC)

Strasbourg Cathedral is three times the height, and is considered complete. This is clearly a false claim. — Preceding unsigned comment added by 76.17.106.194 (talk) 15:03, 12 June 2013 (UTC)

Not sure now 142 m is "three times the hieght" of 112.7 m. But yes, it is still higher. Martinevans123 (talk) 15:16, 12 June 2013 (UTC)
I have a feeling the original contributor was referring to the height of the nave rather than the tower or spire of the building. That certainly seems so from the context. Probably needs clarifying. Sjwells53 (talk) 17:41, 12 June 2013 (UTC)
Yes. Ignoring a spire would seem to me to make a Cathedral incomplete. The spire is as much part of the Cathedral as the nave. So it may have "the tallest nave of any complete cathedral in France", but that's quite a different claim? Martinevans123 (talk) 21:15, 12 June 2013 (UTC)
You are obviously right. The nave height is, I suppose, what the worshipper experiences, so clearly it does matter, but it's not the height of the building as commonly understood. However, is the claim, as revised, true? I suspect it's derived from a guidebook and translated at some stage from French. It's been in the introduction for a long time. A point to consider is that in the Middle Ages Strasbourg was not in France: it is, as the name suggests, a German city in origin. That might have conditioned the original claim. It may have been about "French cathedrals", rather than cathedrals now in France. Either way, someone needs to come up with a rephrasing or delete it altogether.Sjwells53 (talk) 08:30, 14 June 2013 (UTC)
We need to distinguish between what is the tallest structure and what is the tallest nave (interior height). The tallest structure clearly would count the exterior height of any towers or spires. However, in the competition during medieval times to build the tallest gothic cathedral, the critical measurement was the height under the vault, without regard to any superstructure above the vault. The objective in the newly found gothic architecture was twofold: to reach the heavens (from the point of view of the congregation] and to maximize the amount of light (“God is light”). So the internal height of the vault was a single measurement that represented both of those objectives. The limit would be the maximum vault height that could be supported by the gothic architecture, i.e., the architecture consisting of pointed arches, flying buttresses and ribbed vaults.
Among the cathedrals in France, the “race to the top” produced in ascending order, measured in feet: Notre Dame of Paris, 108; Chartres, 116; Bourges, 118; Reims, 125; Amiens, 139; and Beauvais, 159. The last two both have structural weaknesses that demonstrate the limit was reached.
The cathedral of Strasbourg would be the lowest on that list with an interior height of 105 ft.
So, the following rephrasing would work:
From the point of view of interior dimensions, the cathedral is the tallest complete cathedral in France, its stone-vaulted nave reaching a height of 42.30 metres (138.8 ft) (surpassed only by the incomplete Beauvais Cathedral).

Tvbanfield (talk) 19:02, 15 June 2013 (UTC)

That sounds pretty good to me. I think the underlying problem here is that medieval and modern minds have looked at the issue in opposed ways, with the former primarily concerned with enhancing the function of the building in worship and the latter seeing it as a sort of abstract quest for height.Sjwells53 (talk) 23:35, 15 June 2013 (UTC)
Fine. I have revised the main ARTICLE accordingly.--Tvbanfield (talk) 17:53, 17 June 2013 (UTC)

The height of the spire?[edit]

How tall is the crossing's spire above ground level? MathKnight 20:02, 24 November 2006 (UTC)

I found it. It is 112.7 meters. MathKnight 20:37, 24 November 2006 (UTC)

Wartime Protection of the Cathedral[edit]

During a visit in 2002 I found two postcards in the gift shop at the Cathedral, one showing elaborate use of sandbags to protect the West portals during World War I, and the other showing immense piles of sandbags inside the Cathedral protecting the columns and some of the statuary during World War II. Does anyone have additional information about these protective measures? Are there any public domain photos available?

Could scanned versions of the postcards be somehow authorized for insertion in a Wikipedia article?

Response in either French or English will be welcomed.Tvbanfield 04:30, 8 March 2007 (UTC)

Collectors cards?[edit]

I have a set of 2o cardboard cards (4 across x 5 down) that make up a picture of the Cathedral d'Amiens. On the 4th card across on the first row, there is a picture of the coat of arms which says on the coat of arms "Cathedrale D'Amiens". Then underneath this says, World War 1 1914-1918 Amiens. I don't know where these cards are from as they are stuck to a card and framed. By removing these would cause damage to them. I was wondering if anyone knew anything about these cards and whether they are collectable items. 203.87.99.94 (talk) 11:30, 25 November 2007 (UTC)

The interior[edit]

Many thanks to Sjwells for inserting this new section on "The interior" with those superb images. I have always regretted not taking those photos during my visit. In my opinion, it is the illumination and contents of the interior that make the Amiens Cathedral the best of all the French cathedrals. It is the largest and the best preserved. And it is only an hour and a half from Paris. I would suggest enlarging the gallery with images of larger pixels. There seems to be room.Tvbanfield (talk) 23:24, 29 January 2008 (UTC)

Thanks very much. It's a very great cathedral and was of enormous economic importance in the Middle Ages. I like Gothic architecture, but it's often the polychrome sculpture that communicates across the centuries better. That's why the brilliant light show at the western end is so worth seeing. I'm not sure how much of a "discovery" the polychrome work there actually was, because pretty well all medieval (and indeed classical) sculpture was originally painted regularly. I guess the specifics of the Amiens sculptures were a discovery. The early modern polychrome work inside is wonderful, particularly the charming small reliefs. Unfortunately, quite a lot of the free standing and higher relief work needs a good clean. There's a wonderful Cleansing of the Temple in the North transept that you just can't do justice to photographically because it needs a cleansing of its own. I've actually put the St Firmin polychrome sequence from the south ambulatory under the saint's own entry in Wikipedia, because I think it's probably of greatest interest there, but I have linked it on this page. Arguably, some of the John the Baptist stuff would go just as well on that saint's page too. I did photograph considerably more than I;ve posted here, including more of the small reliefs on John's Nativity. I've also got reasonable snaps of the organ and the pulpit. The latter has some amazing baroque sculpture, perhaps allegorical or prophetic in character, but I can't reliably identify the allusions. Perhaps, if I post a couple of photos, someone might make more sense of them than I can.

My backgound is English Protestant, so this stuff gives a tremendously important insight into European devotion that is largely obliterated in Britain, although it has many links with Celtic legend and oral tradition. I've covered some excellent Breton examples of it under the parish close entries.Sjwells53 (talk) 10:30, 30 January 2008 (UTC)

Structural defects[edit]

In this section, it says that the structural problem with the lower portions was was solved by another patch that consisted of a wrought iron bar chain being installed around the mezzanine level to resist the forces pushing the stone columns outward. From my understanding of the presentation of the cited NOVA source, the lazer measurements showed that, while the forces at the higher levels pushed outwards [thus needing properly placed flying butresses], the forces in the lower sections caused the pillars to bow inward, not outward. On the other hand, it says that the heated chain was heated so it would contract & pull inward above the arcade arches. The way the diagram in the source video shows the heated chain was installed arround four separate corners of the nave & transept, it is not clear just how the shrinking forces would interact. It seems they would tend to pull into the corners , which would be an outward force on the main pillars. I hope someone can clear up this seeming inconsisteny.Tvbanfield (talk) 04:00, 30 October 2010 (UTC)